Do you ever think about how different things could be if you didn't have daddy issues? Wow. Foreign concept, right? All of your relationships, morals and maybe even your friendships seem to be affected by this one crappy guy, and you’re left asking yourself how it could possibly impact so much! Trust me... I always find myself wondering what could have been. The truth is, the term “daddy issues” is so much more than just a joke to be thrown around to describe certain women. It’s tossed around so often I even find myself using it to describe why I am the way I am! She’s in a toxic relationship? She’s got daddy issues. She likes older men? Daddy issues. The term “daddy issues” is often misused, and even further, misunderstood.
So... what are daddy issues? Everyone you ask is going to have a different answer, but one factor remains consistent: a bad dad.
Something I learned as I got older, is that there are so many different types of abuse, and the importance of emotions and coping mechanisms. This abuse can range anywhere from mental to physical, and so many other things that may have negatively impacted you. Your dad was the first man in your life, and he betrayed you. It hurts, and that's okay! Let it hurt! But what we’re not going to do is blame ourselves. The majority of women experience this abuse from a young age, which is why it follows us into our adult lives. Did you know that by the age of 5, 90% of your brain has already developed? It's true! All of this development is influenced by all of your interactions, the good and the bad, that further affect how you form relationships and perceive the world.
Entering a big bad world with a skewed knowledge of relationships like this, we tend to develop unhealthy relationships, no matter how much we try to avoid it. Ever wonder why some of the boys you like or even date are trash and sometimes a little toxic? Why do we like bad boys? On paper they literally suck! Well, in layman's terms, we have daddy issues! We subconsciously find men that remind us of our father, and seek the love and validation we were eprived. I know it's hard to hear, it's even harder to accept... but when accepted, you can change it.
I was 17 when I began this cycle of dating toxic and abusive people. My ex mentally and emotionally abused me to the point I developed anxiety, and told me my panic attacks were “nothing more than a childish temper tantrum”. Any time I tried to express my feelings to him, he gaslit me and told me I was being dramatic, even stretching as far as to refer to my concerns as to what he termed, “Shakespeare”. Looking back it angers me that I stayed for so long, but I made excuses for him for over a year because I thought that was love. It was what I grew up knowing to be how a man expressed love by watching the way my father treated my mother and myself.
The most important thing you'll learn is that toxic people are still toxic people, no matter who they are to you. Realizing that is the key to owning your daddy issues, and the biggest step towards making a lasting change. Think about the people you love, and how you treat them. Would you try to upset them? Or degrade their feelings? If I could shake anything into my 17 year old self, I would tell her this isn't love, and give her the biggest hug to tell her she's not alone, and neither are you! Nobody can make you feel anything unless you let them. You are so much more powerful than you think! Truly and wholly owning your daddy issues is a long road, but even if you feel like you're healing slowly, you're still healing. Buy yourself flowers and chocolates, fill your stomach with your favourite foods and get your hair done just for the sake of it. Treat yourself like someone you’re in love with, and you’ll come to see how much of a gift you are. Distance yourself from anyone suppresses your growth, and watch how much you bloom. You aren't your trauma, you’re so much more and you know it, you OWN your daddy issues.
If you would like to read more about daddy issues, toxic people and self-care for coping, I'll link some other articles you might wanna see! https://dianaeskander.com/blog/blog/heal-daddy-issues https://www.perimeterhealthcare.com/about/news/the-importance-of-self-care/ https://www.psychologytoday.com/ie/blog/in-flux/201608/8-things-the-most-toxic-people-in-your-l ife-have-in-common
(all artwork by Sarah Dahir)
Written by: Alex Cloud